Hiking

Around Pokhara

Take a short drive towards Pokhara till Bijaypur Khola, a small river. Walk along an uphill trail passing through small colorful ethnic villages of Gurungs and Ghales. The trail continuously leads upwards winding round terraced fields and village homes till you reach Kalikasthan, a vantage point for viewing the mountains at close range. The vast sweeping snowy expanse you see covers three distinct mountain clusters of the central Himalaya - the Manaslu, the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri, each with one dominant peak over 8,000 meters high. From here you will also see the Maadikhola gorge in the distance with the river slowly meandering down between the foothills. After your picnic lunch walk eastwards following the Kalikasthan ridge which is dotted with small, pretty mountain villages inhabited mostly by ethnic hill tribes. Then walk southwards passing some more hutments and a large village school before making a steep descent to Lamaswara, a small fishing village at the western corner of Begnas. Walk down to the boat station and cross the lake by boat to reach your resort.
Take a short walk up from your resort to the hill ridge. Hike along a broad dirt road which winds its way following the hill contours till we come to a small cluster of village homes. From here we slowly descend along stone steps that lead us to rows of neat mud houses built along a finger that juts out above the Rupa lake. This little settlement is mainly inhabited by the Gurungs who mainly subsist on corn and millet farming. The extra millet grains are brewed and expertly made into a popular and potent distill called "Kodo" widely enjoyed around the fireplace in the evenings amidst stories of Gurkha gallantry. The sunset view of the Manaslu Himal (8,156m) from here is simply stunning.
The most popular hiking trail in the area, it's an interesting walk as you hike along the Sundari Danda ridge going east over Bhanjyang with the trail slowly leading higher through forests of Horse-Chestnut and Saal trees. Take a short break at Pauraake Danda exploring this small Bahun village perched high on the ridge. The view of the surrounding hill sides and of the twin lakes of Rupa and Begnas is simply breathtaking. Walk steadily north gaining a slight altitude through Begnas village, a spread out spectacle of clean mud houses and terraced fields. Higher up is Begnas Maidan, an open meadow perched on a hilltop from where one can have the most spectacular mountain views sweeping from east to west in a vast snowy expanse; Manaslu (8156m) the entire Annapurna massif with such prominent peaks as Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III & IV as well as Mt. Macchapuchare (6993m) and weather permitting, the distant Dhaulagiri (8167m) in the far west. Higher up along this trail is Begnaskote, an old military lookout dating back a couple of centuries when local Rajahs needed to defend their small kingdoms. We recommend an early start in order to be at the Kote at sunrise. Another option is to carry a nice packed lunch and eat lunch while enjoying the sublime view from the Kote.
From your resort walk up to Sundari Danda heading eastward along the ridge to Sundari bazaar, a cluster of small shops and inns. Walk along a quiet forested dirt road to Bhanjyang, a small settlement at the ridge end. From here walk along an uphill trail that leads to a large expanse of hardwood Saal and hazel-nut forest to Trisuli Danda, a small hill overlooking the Rupa and Begnas lakes in the distance with the Annapurna massif looming to the north-west. Visit an old health-post which has been non-operative for years and which your resort has recently proposed to the administration to take over, revive and run it for the benefit of local villagers. Continue along the uphill trail to Pauraake, a small, clean Bahun village perched right near the ridge top. Visit some village homes to see the life-style of the local farming folks. We return the same way but if you feel adventurous you may take a steep narrow trail which is a short-cut down to your resort.
Walk along the Sundari Danda ridge visiting this small scattered hamlet inhabited by a mixture of the Gurungs, a well known hill tribe and the high caste Bahuns and Chettris. Sundari Danda, literally meaning `beautiful hill' in Nepali offers spectacular views of the Manaslu (8156m), Lamjung (6931m), Mt. Macchapuchare (6993m) and the entire Annapurna massif including most of its prominent peaks. Walk through the little village bazaar overlooking the twin lakes of Begnas and Rupa. Descend along an old winding village trail to Taal Besi, a small village that lives off fishing and trading with the adjoining district of Lamjung where goods are transported by porters and mule-trains. Walk along fertile paddy-fields and small colorful villages. You may either return by the same route or take another trail which is mostly along a dirt road that runs round the hill contours back to the hill ridge where your resort is located.
A five minutes walk up from your resort is Sundari Danda, literally meaning `beautiful hill' in Nepal. This long ridge is a different world altogether and as such, awaits you to discover it. From here you will not only have magnificent views of the Manaslu Himal and the entire Annapurna massif with their many prominent peaks, but also sight of the twin spring-fed lakes of Begnas and Rupa as the ridge separates them. Just walking along this ridge you could experience close contacts with Nepal's hill people as also with the pristine beauty of the surrounding hill sides. People of diverse ethnic groups live side by side in clusters of hutments co-existing for generations as good neighbours, mainly engaged in farming and fishing. Sundari Danda, though just 15 kms away from Pokhara town is simply another world. It is well known in the Pokhara valley for its hard working pretty maidens, easy-going men and for a potent millet brew called `Kodo' well-liked in the region for its smoky flavour and smooth taste.
From Sundari Danda take a narrow village trail descending steeply south to the Rupa lake. In parts it is a pleasant walk through quiet forested areas particularly once you arrive at the Rupa, a longish natural lake. Walk along its western bank ascending slowly through a thick forest of hardwood trees which gently gives way to terraced paddy-fields and to the settlements above. Visit Pachhbhaiya, one of the largest of the surrounding villages inhabited mostly by the Bahun-Chettri (priests and warriors) clans as well as by the Kami (black-smith), Damai (tailor) and Sarki (cobbler). It is interesting to see these diverse Hindu upper and lower castes co-exist happily for generations. This village prides itself for its large UN funded school in the area and the fact that unlike in other parts of the country almost all families are reasonably well off and fairly educated. Walk back along a wide mud-track to your resort.